Background: Many DNA methylation-based indicators have been developed as summary measures of epigenetic aging. We examine the associations between 13 epigenetic clocks, including 4 second generation clocks, as well as the links of the clocks to social, demographic, and behavioral factors known to be related to health outcomes: sex, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, obesity, and lifetime smoking pack-years. Methods: The Health and Retirement Study is the data source which is a nationally representative sample of Americans over age 50. Assessment of DNA methylation was based on the EPIC chip and epigenetic clocks were developed based on existing literature. Results: The clocks vary in the strength of their relationships with age, with each other and with independent variables. Second generation clocks trained on health-related characteristics tend to relate more strongly to the sociodemographic and health behaviors known to be associated with health outcomes in this age group. Conclusions: Users of this publicly available data set should be aware that epigenetic clocks vary in their relationships to age and to variables known to be related to the process of health change with age.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences|
|State||Published - Jun 1 2021|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute on Aging (R01 AG AG060110). The Health and Retirement Study is supported by National Institute on Aging U01 AG009740.
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America.
- DNA methylation
- Epigenetic age
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural